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In case of unwed couples, the decision to add the father’s name to the birth certificate is a very personal one.
Sometimes, it is difficult to identify or locate the father. Other times, the relationship between the biological parents may be strained. In these situations, the mother may be unsure how including the father’s name on the birth certificate will affect her parental rights and her child.
If you are worried about the consequences of having no father’s name on a birth certificate, keep reading. In this article, you will learn:
Absolutely not. The father’s name is not a requirement to issue a birth certificate.
The biological father's last name does not have to be included for the vital records office to issue your baby’s certificate. Similarly, the parents do not need to be married.
Registering a child’s birth is a legal requirement. The hospital or birthing facility will be able to assist you with filing the paperwork.
When parents are unmarried, the baby can take:
Parents should discuss the above options and reach an agreement. In some US states, the mother has the right to choose the child’s last name without the father’s consent even when parentage is established.
Including the father on the birth certificate does not mean that the baby will automatically take the father’s last name.
When the couple is unmarried, listing the father on the birth certificate is not possible without their consent
The birth certificate does not represent evidence of paternity if the father’s name appears but there is no signature
Unmarried parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) to confirm the father’s identity and their consent to be listed as father on all relevant paperwork. The AOP is often filled out and signed at the hospital or facility where the baby is born but can also be submitted later.
Featuring on a child’s birth certificate comes with rights and responsibilities. In the United States, the father’s rights include:
Once paternity is acknowledged, the father also agrees to the following parental responsibilities:
If your baby has no father’s name on their birth certificate, access to certain social security benefits could be affected.
Also, it may not be possible for you to take legal steps to ensure that the father upholds their parental duties and meets the child’s physical and emotional needs.
Even as an adult, there are benefits to having the father’s name on one’s birth certificate, for example:
Ultimately, deciding whether to register a newborn with no father’s name on the birth certificate is a delicate position to be in. Remember that it is possible to have the birth certificate amended and the father added at a later date if both parents agree.
In many states, the only situation in which a minor’s birth certificate cannot be changed to include the father’s name is after the father’s death.